Rabelais Student Media

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Rabelais Student Media is a student newspaper at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, named after French Renaissance writer François Rabelais.

From its founding in 1967, Rabelais Student Media has been run as a department of the La Trobe University Student Representative Council (now the La Trobe Student Union). The paper is funded by a combination of advertising revenue and a student levy. Editors are elected annually and serve for a single year.

Rabelais has a notorious history in the Australian legal world. The July 1995 edition of the magazine published an article which allegedly incited readers to shoplift as a means of surviving student poverty. This edition was subsequently banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the editors of the magazine charged with publishing, distributing and depositing an objectionable publication. In this instance an objectional publication was defined as one that allegedly incited criminal activity.[1] The editors lodged an appeal, which led to a protracted four-year court case. The appeal was eventually defeated by the full bench of the Federal Court, who refused the editors application to appeal to the High Court of Australia. The criminal charges were dropped in March 1999.[2] On campus, the paper is known for casting a critical eye over the actions of the Union and the University at large.

After many different formats and regime changes over the years, Rabelais is published monthly during the school year (March to November) and has a circulation of approx 9,000. This year (2011) the publication has adopted a more informal magazine style, while still keeping the format of a newspaper. There is more content about music, movies, books, student life and fashion.

Editors of Rabelais[edit]

1967 - Michel Lawrence
1968 - Michel Lawrence


Rebellious is the Women's Edition of Rabelais. It is edited and published by the Women's Collective under the auspices of the Women's officer. Rebellious has been issued once a year since the early 1970s.

Student media at La Trobe[edit]

Between 1979 and 1995, the Bendigo Student Association produced a newspaper called Third Degree. At the time of the paper's establishment, the Bendigo campus was a College of Advanced Education, from 1994, it was a campus of La Trobe University. Third Degree was operating in around 2005, but is no longer published.


  1. ^ Nadya Haddad, ‘Rabble-rousing and Rabelais: fear of lawless shoplifting students’ (1998) 8(2) Polemic 32 at 33.
  2. ^ Federal Court of Australia, Annual report 1997 – 1998, Chapter 2, The Work of the Court, 2.2 Decisions of Interest

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

For full details regarding the controversy surrounding Rabelais see archived pages of the Rabelais Defence Committee. This site provides archived links to third party citations including press clippings, media releases and court judgements.